I ask this question because it seems like there is an ongoing tug of war among Christians about relevance. I know that some people are so afraid that being relevant is going to water down the message of Christ, but I’ve always thought that it doesn’t have to. I think one of the major causes of these arguments comes down to a definition of a word that is thrown around too carelessly. It’s the word “worldly.” We throw that word around as an insult but what does it really mean? I was looking through Bible verses in different versions that used the word worldly and I noticed that every time it was used it was always describing an attitude of a “me-focused world.” Every time you look up that word it has to do with a mindset that we all struggle with, the mind set that everything in this world is here for me. It’s forgetting that the world is bigger than us.
The word worldly is never used to describe a style, words we use, places or events it’s a mind set, an attitude that people get stuck in. Relevance does not mean we are watering down the message for a “worldly” substitute. Relevance means that we live life in the same world, speaking the same language, and embracing the same culture. For some reason, someone once thought that being a Jesus follower meant that you abandoned the culture you were in and created some sort of Christian sub-culture where we have similar music, but it’s just not as good, we have similar clothes, but they just have cheesy pro Jesus sayings on them – and some how we still live there in that thought pattern. In the thought pattern that Christianity cannot blend with the current culture we live in but it’s simply not true. In fact one of the most beautiful things about faith in Jesus is that it’s a faith that translates into any and every culture. I’ve learned that we are so much more influential and accomplish the mission of Jesus when we live with unbelievers rather than living in spite of them
So the question that scares me the most is what happens if we aren’t relevant? What are the consequences? What are we missing out on that God has planned for us because we’re too busy fighting over trivial stuff? More importantly, how are the people God has put in our lives suffering from our stubbornness? So how can we be relevant? We’ll talk about that next time.